I was in the bookstore yesterday browsing the aisle, which is one of my favorite ways to kill an hour or two. I found myself wandering through the shelves of new releases in the Young Adult section. I noticed that all the new books in this section were in the fantasy genre or mystical in theme. I know it is October and Halloween stuff is put to the forefront of all the retail displays, I get it. It made me wonder why were these books such big sellers and what draws the young adults, and older adults for that matter, to this type of fiction.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fantasy read. Give me a dragon, a damsel in distress, a good-looking vampire and a shining knight on a handsome white steed any day. These books were not that kind of fantasy. I saw covers with vampires, sorcery, ghosts,werewolves and scantily clad women warriors. I am sure these books, at least some of them are good fiction. That does not answer the question as to why these books draw so many readers.
Take a look at Harry Potter and the Twilight series, for instance, both have produced millions in sales. There must be reason that people like to read these stories. If we look at the content it is clear to see why these stories are best sellers. The themes and plots draw people away from the mundane normal lives that they are living. It takes the reader to place that can only exist in fantasy fiction. No where in normal lives can someone cast spells, kiss vampires, and run with wolves. However, truth can be stranger than fiction.
I have read a book where the leading charismatic protagonist cast demons in to pigs, calmed a ferocious storm with a word, raised the dead, made blind people see and turned water into wine. All that in the first three chapters of part two. The first part of this book is even more fantastical with wild whirlwinds, floods, blood-red suns, giants, spirits that walk through fires unburned, walls that fall at the sound of trumpets, talking serpents, poison apples, a super strong man with powerful hair, demons, plagues, bones that regenerate flesh, and battles between good and evil forces. The last chapter of the book has dragons and creatures that even the best horror or fiction writer on the market cannot create uglier or meaner. Not to mention there is espionage, adultery, sex crimes, kings knocked off thrones, passion, love and on it goes. All the elements for good fantasy fiction in one book.
If you haven’t guess yet I am talking about the Bible and it is full of stories that are just as magical and mystical as any of the popular stories on the shelves of the book store today. God is an awesome fantasy writer but His fantasy isn’t fiction. Cool, huh?
I think if more people look at the Bible in this way, more would read it. I would hope then that they would see the other elements of the Bible such as God’s love for humanity, His grace, peace, and unfathomable greatness. People can read the Bible for instruction, but (stay with me here) people can also read the Bible to escape their world and enter another. The Bible offers a spiritual journey into God’s world. It can be the same as reading a fantasy story to avoid whatever hurt, boredom, dullness, or stress that is in your life. The Bible is full fo fantastical stories, this is true, but it is so much more than a good story. It is full of truth. By losing yourself in the Bible just as one would in a good piece of fiction, you can find all the elements that pull a person into reading one of the best-selling novels. What’s more, you can find God in this wonderful book packed full of exciting stories.
So get a good easy to follow translation, engage your imagination, open your heart and you will not be disappointed.